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How to watch SpaceX launch a private lunar lander tonight

Overnight tonight, Saturday, December 11 to Sunday, December 12, SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket starting a private Japanese lander on a journey to the moon. The launch from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida will be livestreamed, and we’ve got the details on how you can watch below.

ispace M1 Mission

What to expect from the launch

The Falcon 9 will be carrying the ispace HAKUTO-R Mission 1, which will be deployed from the rocket around one hour after launch. The lander will then travel on to the moon, taking several months on its journey before a scheduled landing on the moon in April 2023. The aim is to create a commercial lunar lander that can carry both private and government payloads to the moon. This time, the lander will be carrying a rover called Rashid from the United Arab Emirates, as part of the UAE’s first lunar mission.

SpaceX will be launching this mission with the same rocket it launches payloads into orbit around the Earth, but in this case, the HAKUTO-R spacecraft will continue to travel away from Earth and toward the moon instead of entering orbit.

As well as HAKUTO-R, the Falcon 9 will also be carrying a small NASA spacecraft called the Lunar Flashlight, which will orbit the moon as well. This mission aims to study the surface of the moon to detect water ice deposits around its south pole, which could be an important resource for future human explorers there.

How to watch the launch

The launch will be livestreamed by SpaceX, including the final preparations before liftoff, liftoff itself, the catching of the first stage booster, and payload separation. The launch window opens at 2:38 a.m. ET on Sunday, December 11 (11:38 p.m. PT on Saturday, December 10) with coverage beginning around 15 minutes before. If there are any issues with the launch such as inclement weather, there is a second launch opportunity early on the morning of Monday, December 12.

To watch the livestream you can either go over to SpaceX’s YouTube page for the event or use the video embedded at the top of this page.

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